Intro: Leading the party to start the campaign
The campaign begins with murmurs spreading through the current town of the local province of Rygea being thrown into civil unrest. With enemies at the gates and behind, the Regular Rygean military is overtaxed and could be looking for daring adventurers to supplement their efforts. A savy party of capable people could take advantage of this need and squeeze wealth and fame from the turmoil engulfing the province.
Upon accepting the challenge a journey of 4 days east will land them in the western edge of Rygea.
DC CHECK 10: Rygea
Upon first entering the province of Rygea, members will remark how well traveled the roads are, more so than common merchants and adventures such as themselves would impact. Soon, they see looming dark smoke and sounds of war and a large battle ahead of them on the path they are traveling. The battle has obviously been going on for sometime, and from their vantage point they cannot tell who is fighting whom. They can tell that more than just humans are fighting. Going further along down the hills into the melee will be suicide. GM remarks the surrounding forest has thinned and axe marks are evident on chopped down trees making it easier to leave the path and travel around the battlefield and onto their destination of Rygea proper.
DC CHECK Nature/Perception 18: First Death Snake Encounter
After the encounter experience will be given out on the enemies the group was actually able to kill. If nothing is killed then partial experience for damaging the enemies will be given out. The regular army will stabilize the party and the human mage will address them.
“You should consider yourself lucky! With things as tumultuous as they are these days we usually wouldn’t have bothered with travelers stupid enough to go into the forest. However, seeing your performance against these beasts I can see you all are no ordinary travelers. I can already tell you aren’t associated with those Geurian swine. My captain would be very interested in meeting with you. Seeing as how we just pulled you back from the brink of death, I say you at least owe our commanding officer a visit.
Ahh, but first my apologies let me at least introduce ourselves. My name is Tolius he brandishes the emblem on his robes and I along with my compatriots are part of the regular Rygean army”
Tolius will answer the parties questions about his presence, the toxin they used and probably why their captain wants to see them. He is part of a normal scouting party and has no idea why the captain has requested that any adventurers be sent to see him. If asked about the poison he will say “its proprietary, its just a poison scouting parties are issued to deal with the snakes, but its limited so hopefully you will prove worth it”.
DC Diplomacy 15: Tells them the poison is made exclusively in Rygea and its properties are unknown to the low rank and file. He used his store fending off the snakes but perhaps there is more back at camp".
Once they agree the remaining members will lead the party back to the forward base of the regular Rygea army.
Once there you notice that the men are breaking down camp, however upon further inspection you see that they are only downsizing by taking down some barracks tents and consolidating items from the tents in the middle of the camp. The men look wearied and many bear injuries. Even the warforged machines struggle to perform their duties with varying amounts of damage they have sustained. The camp is located at the top of a knoll and below it stretches a war scene. A razed town of moderate size is still smoldering. Though in terrible shape, houses, taverns, and shops can be made out. In the middle, the base of a large structure is evident, though burned to the ground. In front of it is a large blackened pile. From this distance you can see soldiers approaching the pile and picking up part of the contents and laying them side by side a few yards away. Tolius beckons you over towards a tent and says “As requested, sir” and pulls back the fold of a tent for a tall human male adorned in gray and golden armor. He is obviously dressed and suited to be an officer, but you can tell he commands from the battlefield. His finely crafted armor is sullied with tarnish that could only come from the chaos of the front line. More impressively, of all his wear he bears no injuries.
This NPC’s name is Montain Belllamy. He is a top ranked general in Rygea’s army and commands the bulk of their forces. He has been tested and succeeded in many battles over Rygea’s rough attempt at independence as such the country’s citizens and leadership regards him highly. He is looking for a group of third party contractors to supplement his forces to take on an important mission. That mission is to transport a high value target to the capital for a public execution.
That target is Theris Zorrai a well known terrorist in the Rygea that campaigns for tiefling superiority. While Rygea struggles to throw off outside influence Theris has been gathering support within the region to overthrow the current regime in favor of leaders more in line with his ideals. He has been performing raids in guerilla style warfare and spreading propaganda about the current monarchy. His men have been known to attack caravans and wipe out farming communities and killing the men and raping the women. His forces are vastly out shadowed by the regular army so he stretches what he has to cause the most damage and has been a constant thorn in Rygea’s side.
Questions to Montain:
Theris must be transported because of all the pain he has caused the region that his execution would bolster the citizens morale knowing that he is dead. Simply proclaiming it would not be the best use of his death. As the head of the terroristic group his death would all but cease the advanced movements of the remaining members making them much less dangerous.
The players may remark that its odd such an important task is given to strangers in the kingdom. Montain should encourage them by saying he knows good men when he sees them, especially ones that are well paid. He would like to send his own men but he is already strapped on man power and sending enough men to equal the weight of powerful adventurers would advertise the prisoners movement. More information will be given in Montain’s Deception
The town, Larean is a border town we quartered our soldiers in and fortified against the Geurian onslaught. During our last skirmish some filth headed by your charge sought to burn our supplies and supply lines and damage our defensive position. He became over zealous and that is when we were able to catch him.
Ancodite Bellamy will have intimate knowledge of this poison used against the snakes in the forest except for exactly how to make it. A skill check will let him tell the party what the ingredients are DC 20 diplomacy/nature or arcana will succeed. He will react negatively to intimidate or bluff since its proprietary and only certain people should know of it. In addition for a successful DC of 18 he will give the party 4 doses of the poison. For successes of +5 or more he will increase it by 2 doses.
Montain should remark that in addition he can spare a warforged unit captain to aid the party.
During the conversation preferably during the debate between the poison and the soldier a clamour should arise. Loud voices are heard and screaming as Montain rushes out of the tent. Exclamations about the prisoner or the watch guards should be heard. Nearby in a tent the party should arrive to a gruesome scene.
Read: As everyone enters the tent you are met with the back of Montain shaking with anger. In front of him stands a Tiefling of considerable stature. His hands bound in front of him with reflective crystal wrist guards. In his hands are a bloodied sword, and around him are 4 human guards lying dead. One guard’s weapon sheath is empty and a large part of his throat missing. Blood pools at the corner of the tiefling’s lips and begins to drip. He spits at Montain. The tiefling stares defiantly back at him without saying a word. Montain draws aside his cape and reaches at his waist. His hand hovers over his sword hilt but instead produces a similar crystal shard. With a wave of his hand and a command “KNEEL”, the tiefling’s confinements on his wrist glow. He drops his sword and falls to his knees snarling. Montain rushes to him and kicks him square in the chest sending him on his back. “The town wasn’t enough for you monster? You needed the lives of more good men before you see your end? The Ravenqueen take you!” The tiefling yells “Many met their end today including my kinsmen! All because you continue to deny…..” With another wave and a command “SILENCE!” The tiefling’s mouth snaps shut. He continues to stare directly at Montain with a defiant grin. Montain turns and addresses you, as he charges out “Meet your escortee gentlemen, GUARDS Restrain him!” Montain exits as guards pour in to secure the prisoner. The dilated crazed stare once aimed at Montain is now squarely fixed on your party. He smiles now looking at your party as guards begin to angrily and violently bind him."
Back at the tent Montain will ask for the decision regarding the poison/soldier and if they still want to do the mission. He will explain the Crystal Controller and inform them that the terror group he led will not be the only interested party in Theris’ transport. However, if they move quickly and discreetly it should not draw undue attention. If the characters request payment Montain will offer 500 gp per party members to be paid half now and half when they arrive . A successful conversation DC check of 18 or more will get them 600 gp with every +5 getting an additional 50gp per member. He will discuss the map and the pros and cons of each path as well as state the controller cannot function indefinitely and must be recharged by Rygean mages at the crossroads town, Sirilion.
Path 1: The northern trade road, our army has a larger presence in the north. You will find more guard stations and a reduced snake presence. However, It is closer to the border and as such is a bigger target for the anti-Rygea militants. You may come across groups sympathetic to Theris.
Path 2: I cannot recommend this path. Between our war efforts and Theris’ group we cannot even maintain our own infrastructure. The woods have retaken this route and as such I cannot comment on its safety, only that it is to be avoided.
Path 3: The southern common road is the farthest from the hostile border to the north. On one side your movements on this road are more likely to go unnoticed by interested parties, on the other the snakes have an increased presence here. The road used to contain bustling villages however, many had to be evacuated quickly leaving much behind . The need to consolidate our forces so we could efficiently protect our citizens was paramount at the time. Because of that anything of value you find in these places will be yours if you choose to go. I must warn you however, my scouts have reported activity of a truly massive snake in the Southern region. If you can identify the beast and are able to slay it I would be grateful. [[Minor Quest: Slay the Big Ass Snake]]
If the party outright refuses this path, Montain should offer some Ancodite poison to make the idea more reasonable.
Before departing Montain should give the party a Royal Rygean seal so that the citizens know that they act under the authority of the Regular Army. The seal is spotless and even resists fingerprints, it hums with a slight magic aura. You realize this is a special item and not easily duplicated. It will act as a passport and decree from Montain.